Dear Sam, Elders, Rick and Patty,
Sam, I've been thinking a lot about this scripture since the funeral. When
it went up on the screen at Ken's memorial, you might as well had been
living with us in our house the past 3 1/2 years because that scripture best
described what we had experienced. It was so "Ken". These 3 verses are just
a part of why I can say there was SO MUCH good that came out of this trial,
and I can count it all joy, and the Word is living. There are other
scriptures too, but this one really pegged him and myself. Without going
into each verse, this is the crux of what Ken and I learned.
The faith verse, vs. 18, "while we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen",
In our 20's and 30's this meant miraculous healing and would had been the
focus back then. Miraculous healing was and still is looking at some thing
not seen and it is right, and we must ask and believe for it. But Ken and I
experienced a whole new meaning to that verse that became more important to
us than a miraculous healing (although a miraculous healing would have truly
been glorious for God, and Ken would still be with us). Deepening our
relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, all One, became more
Looking at vs.18, when I "look" at something, I am focusing on it. "The
things which ARE seen" are the circumstances of the trial, the temporal
things. "While we look NOT at the things which are seen" does not mean
denying the circumstances, but to not focus on them. Don't let them lead
you. Circumstances cannot sustain you. How do you not focus on them? By
looking "at the things that are NOT seen," the eternal. How? By looking on,
focusing on, clinging onto, pressing into, totally relying on God throughout
each day. First, one of "the things that are [usually] not seen", is God.
Second, BECAUSE you are focused on Him and seeking Him first, other 'things
that are not seen" (until you experience them) are His faithfulness for that
day, His grace for that day, His everlasting love for that day, His strength
for that day, and His Goodness for that day in the midst of the trial.
Therefore, He became the focus and truly the Sustainer. Trials are taken one
day at a time. So was deepening our relationship with Him. It was the only
way we could get through each day and therefore the trial itself.
The first thing we noticed after the diagnosis was how weak we were as
individuals. We had never faced a health issue like this one before so it
was an opportunity to quickly get God involved in an unknown area. Ken was
quicker about it than I was. I was grieving. But, eventually, seeking God
first in a different and deeper way than ever before became the main focus
to get through each day. And because God is relentlessly faithful, God's
physical, mental and emotional help was provision day in and day out. This
involved seeking Him personally, reading the Word, prayer, and people
encouraging and supporting us. Eventually God's strength overcame our
weakness. The depth of intimacy grew. Our relationship with God became
closer, and Ken and I also became closer. Asking and believing for Ken's
healing was a close second.
All the things I've mentioned are "things that are not seen." For us there
was an order. For us, relationship was more important than the healing. And
you know how important to us healing would have been for Ken. But, as a
result of this order, I was able to "let go of Ken" when God told me to 4
months and again 2 months before he passed. I was also able to be open
when God told me to prepare my heart for he said he was going to take Ken
home "soon". Yet, not ever giving up hope that God could heal Ken. God can
do anything. There is no formula to God. Each journey is unique.
One of my main prayers for Ken throughout our marriage was "that his love
for Jesus would grow deeper". I had the privilege to have a front row seat
to witness that and this:
vs. 16 Therefore Ken did not lose heart, but though his outer man was
decaying, yet his inner man was being renewed day by day.
vs. 17 For momentary, light affliction was producing for him an eternal
weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
vs. 18 while he looked not at the things which were seen, but at the things
that were not seen; for the things which were seen were temporal, but the
things which were not seen [are] eternal.
Ken was such an example for me to witness. He was spiritually solid
throughout the trial. As a spouse and caregiver he was a true gift from God
to me. Thank you Lord. Throughout this challenging time one of our main
prayers was that some how God would be glorified. I believe God was by Ken's
example to me and others.
When I turned 50 a few years ago, I told my Mother-in-law, Pat, that I felt
REALLY good about my 50's. That I had a sense they were going to be REALLY
good years. Ken was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer a year later. At the
time I had no idea there was going to be SO MUCH good in those 3 1/2 years.
Nothing and no one on this Earth, the temporal, can replace deepening your
relationship with God, the eternal. Nothing. Ken is eternally with His
first love, God. Therefore, for him to die is gain. He is ultimately
healed. Ken got to go first, he won. I told him I wasn't going to say
good-bye, but that I would see him later. Perhaps when Jesus returns!
Again, thank you for your prayers. David and I are doing well. The truth
of God keeps everything in perspective and helps our hearts heal. There have
been hard days, but mostly good so far. I am seeking God first in this new
chapter of life. Writing this e-mail is a testimony told to glorify God and
a part of the healing process for me. Thanks for lending an ear.